An intense low-pressure system that is forecast to affect southern Britain on Saturday has been named as Storm Brian.
The Met Office’s Irish partner took the decision earlier today to issue an Orange warning for some parts of Ireland on Saturday because of expected impacts across the Irish Republic.
Under the collaboration between the Met Office and Met Éireann a storm will be named when it has the potential to cause an amber/orange or red warning.
Today the Met Office updated their Yellow wind warning for strong south-westerly winds on Saturday from 4am covering parts of southern and western England and South and West Wales.
Currently the Met Office has no plans to issue an Amber wind warning for any part of the UK, but the situation will be under continual review.
Chief Forecaster Dan Suri said: “Storm Brian is expected to bring strong winds to southern and western areas early on Saturday morning. The first and most significant land-based impacts will be in the southwest of Ireland, hence the Amber warning from Met Éireann. At the moment, we don’t expect the same level of impacts for the UK.
“As we go through Saturday morning and early afternoon the strong south-westerly winds affecting the South West will transfer east and slowly change direction as they will become westerly towards the end of the warning period.
“Gusts exceeding 50mph are expected widely within the warning area, with gusts of around 70mph along exposed coastal areas. These are expected to coincide with high tides, leading to locally dangerous conditions in coastal parts.”
Before it makes landfall, the system is what the Met Office describes as undergoing explosive cyclogenesis far out in the Atlantic.
However, by the time it reaches Britain and Ireland this phase is expected to be complete and it will be a mature, deep low, bringing strong winds with the potential to affect travel over the weekend.
As the system is expected to bring strong gusts during Saturday, there is the obvious potential of risk to travellers. RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “Drivers encountering high winds are advised to reduce their speed, ensure they hold the steering wheel firmly and be prepared for sudden gusts, debris and even fallen branches in the road. Allow plenty of room between your vehicle and the next and take extra care when overtaking cyclists, motorcyclists and lorries as they are susceptible to being blown around easily by side winds. Be extra cautious when driving on exposed roads, high ground and across bridges where again sudden gusts can blow you off course.
“When you reach your destination consider parking safely avoiding trees, overhanging telephone wires and things which could represent a falling danger.”
The strongest winds in coastal areas, gusting up to 70mph, are expected to coincide with high tides, leading to potentially dangerous conditions for local coastal communities.
Alison Baptiste, National flood duty manager for the Environment Agency, said: “Strong winds are expected across southern England on Friday night and into Saturday. Some coastal flooding is possible along the south and south-west coasts of England, especially around the times of high tide, with large waves, spray and some overtopping of coastal defences.
“We urge people to stay safe along the coast and warn against putting yourself in unnecessary danger by taking ‘storm selfies’ or driving through flood water – just 30cm is enough to move your car. Environment Agency teams are on the ground checking defences and taking precautionary measures such as closing tidal gates.
“We’re working with partners including the Met Office and local authorities to monitor the situation and are ready to respond as necessary.Where necessary we will issue flood warnings and alerts. You can check whether you’re affected at www.gov.uk/flood.”
Under the guidelines of the storm naming collaboration, an Amber wind warning triggers the naming process. Storm Brian will be the second named storm of the season, following Aileen which affected parts of the UK on 12–13 September 2017.
The system is typical for the time of year and it has developed mainly as a result of a contrast in temperatures either side of the jet stream, with cooler temperatures to the north and warm temperatures to the south.
Ex-Ophelia which affected Ireland and Britain on Monday and Tuesday had a different origin as it developed from a hurricane in the tropical Atlantic. Therefore, Ophelia’s original name was continued rather than using the next predetermined name from the UK and Ireland’s storm-naming process.